Babeu no doubt is familiar with the case of fellow ex-Chandler Officer Ronald Dible, who was fired for running a porn website with his wife. He filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit against Chandler and its police department and lost. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his firing.

The parallel here is that Dible also claimed he could be a law enforcement officer and do whatever he pleased during personal time.

"It can be seriously asked whether a police officer can ever disassociate himself from his powerful public position sufficiently to make his speech (and other activities) entirely unrelated to that position in the eyes of the public and his superiors," the Ninth Circuit wrote.

Paul Babeu's self-portrait
Paul Babeu's self-portrait
Text messages between Orozco and Babeu
Text messages between Orozco and Babeu
A letter sent to Paul Babeu's attorney Chris DeRose by Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose Orozco's attorney, demanding Babeu discontinue "any and all contact" with her client.
A letter sent to Paul Babeu's attorney Chris DeRose by Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose Orozco's attorney, demanding Babeu discontinue "any and all contact" with her client.
A letter sent to Paul Babeu's attorney Chris DeRose by Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose Orozco's attorney, demanding Babeu discontinue "any and all contact" with her client.
A letter sent to Paul Babeu's attorney Chris DeRose by Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose Orozco's attorney, demanding Babeu discontinue "any and all contact" with her client.
Additional correspondence between Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose Orozco's Attorney, and Chris DeRose, Paul Babeu's attorney.
Additional correspondence between Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose Orozco's Attorney, and Chris DeRose, Paul Babeu's attorney.
Additional correspondence between Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose Orozco's Attorney, and Chris DeRose, Paul Babeu's attorney.
Additional correspondence between Melissa Weiss-Riner, Jose Orozco's Attorney, and Chris DeRose, Paul Babeu's attorney.

At Babeu's coming-out press conference, he paraded supporters — including several uniformed subordinates at the PCSO — before TV cameras to vouch for his leadership abilities and good character. They all defended his right to be a gay sheriff in Arizona.

Babeu — whose 2008 campaign for Pinal County sheriff was centered on cleaning out corruption in the Sheriff's Office — and DeRose repeatedly said there was no plan to call for any investigation to clear the sheriff's name. DeRose has called Oroz­co's allegations "silliness," and Babeu has said they're "baseless."

But now, both Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne -- whom Babeu endorsed in 2010 during his bid for AG -- and a state public-integrity task force will dig deeper into these allegations.

Babeu has not explained the intimidation Orozco's attorney refers to in her letters demanding that Babeu's camp stop harassing her client. She says the harassment was aimed at getting Orozco to keep quiet about the relationship.

Weiss-Riner wrote to the sheriff's attorney on January 17 that Babeu's "continued harassment and intimidation have caused Mr. Orozco to live in fear."

In an earlier letter, on September 30, Weiss-Riner wrote to DeRose that his "claim that Mr. Orozco does not have legal status in this country is simply not true. However, if your client . . . Mr. Babeu wishes to make these allegations, my client will prevail."

One of Babeu's own text messages to Orozco states: "You can never have business after this and you will harm me and many others in the process . . . including yourself and your family."

Babeu told reporters that he does not deny the veracity of the text messages and photos published by New Times — including this text.

Babeu lately has claimed to TV reporters that this message was meant only to convey to Orozco that his actions regarding the sheriff's websites would make it impossible for him to run a web-design business.
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